Explore Atlanta like a Local: 17 Things to Do in the ATL

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January was a whirlwind of US stops. I spent time in six states:  Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, and New York.

Sadly, my time in Georgia was brief (4 days) and business-oriented. My schedule was packed with meetings and meals with college buddies. Alas, I didn’t do a single touristy thing during my visit this year.


Embarrassing Fact: This isn’t the first time this has happened. I’ve actually been to Atlanta four times, and I’ve only spent one day sightseeing. But it was a completely lovely spring day full of art, literature, and seriously delicious food. During the majority of my visits, I’ve spent my days in suburban conference rooms and customer meetings and then getting to catch up with old friends in my free time.

Since I haven’t gotten to experience all that Atlanta has to offer myself, my friends Nicole and Jack kindly put together an awesome list of their suggestions to add to my meager three. And this list is so good I’m getting travel envy just typing it out.

  1. The Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site:  this site consisting of multiple historic places important in the life of Dr. King, includes his birth home, the Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, The King Center founded by Coretta Scott King in his honor, and other. This is one of the many pieces of American History watched over and protected by our National Park Service.
  2. Grab Drinks at The Sun Dial Restaurant at the Westin Hotel:  Their suggestion is to check this out at night for great views of the Atlanta Skyline.
  3. Check out the The Georgia Aquarium:  The largest aquarium in the western hemisphere. Take their advice and avoid weekend crowds.
  4. Take a Stroll through Piedmont Park: a huge park in the middle of the city great for a walk on a nice day
  5. Go for a Show at The Fox Theater: a glance at their upcoming schedule shows a great eclectic mix of theater suitable for many different tastes
  6. Eat the Best Fried Chicken in the South at South City Kitchen:  for some contemporary southern cuisine. They have three locations and a menu they describe as “southern food with an upscale twist.”
  7. Plan your Trip around Weekend Festivals – There’s likely one any given weekend, especially during the spring and summer months. They say that they’ve found this to be unique to Atlanta.
  8. A Fried Green Tomato Sandwich at Murphy’s:  jalapeno mayo with …mmmm….
  9. Then Stay for a Walk in Virginia Highland  a cute neighborhood to walk off the fried food you’ve just eaten. Near midtown and full of 1920’s and 1930’s architecture.
  10. Head to Little Five Points for a Stroll:  another chic Atlanta neighborhood sometimes called the bohemian center of the south
  11. While There Check out the Vinyl at Criminal Records:  you can pick up a turntable,or cassette tapes, or even comic books.
  12. Follow with a Beer Break at The Porter Beer Bar: They have over 800 beers, but I’m drooling over this pic of Belgian Fries.
  13. Enjoy Jazz at Night in Atlanta – available at multiple locations throughout the city including at Churchill Grounds which is close to the Fox Theater
  14. Explore your Inner Botanist at the Botanical Gardens: The gardens boast the 3rd spot on Country Gardens Magazine‘s list of their top 20 favorite public gardens.
  15. High Museum of Art:  The High is one of my personal favorite American art museums. Whimsical and focused at the same time, it has a large permanent collection and a history of fantastic guest exhibits.
  16. Challenge Your Ideas about Southern Womanhood at the Margaret Mitchell House:  visit the museum and take a tour of the apartments where Mitchell wrote Gone with the Wind.
  17. Get Your Eat on across the Street at Empire State South: Yes, I selected this restaurant because it was Anthony Bourdain-approved. It was so worth it. 

Any to add? Suggestions welcome, especially delicious ones.

See also
20 Lovely Empire State Building Quotes for Empire State Captions & Statuses

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Explore Atlanta like a Local_ 17 Things to Do in the ATL
Explore Atlanta like a Local_ 17 Things to Do in the ATL

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